The Proust Questionnaire, popularized by the French essayist and novelist Marcel Proust, is said to reveal a person’s true nature through a series of probing, soul-searching questions. In the hot seat today: Loriel Ryon, author of the MG debut, INTO THE TALL, TALL GRASS (Margaret K. McElderry, 2020).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Well, after being in social isolation for 12+ weeks with two young kids…SOLITUDE. And a glass of wine and a book.
What is your greatest fear? Messing up my kids.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Impatience. I have grown a lot after being a nurse and a mother, but I still struggle with it more often that I’d like to admit.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Hypocrisy. No quicker way to get my blood boiling.
Which living person do you most admire? Former First Lady Michelle Obama. She is caring, poised, wise and a loving wife and mother. She isn’t afraid to speak the truth and seems to have so much patience. She has had to deal with a lot of negativity in her role and handles it perfectly. When I’m facing a tough situation, I try to imagine how she might handle it.
What is your greatest extravagance? I told my spouse that if I ever sold a book, I wanted to get someone to clean the house every few weeks…so that is what we did, and I have zero regrets.
What is your current state of mind? Motivated and impatient (ha!).
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Temperance. Life is too short for too much moderation.
On what occasion do you lie? I’m pretty honest (sometimes to a fault), but I would say to keep from hurting someone’s feelings.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I curse WAY more than a mother of two young children should.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could be on Broadway, dancing and singing in the best musicals. I’ve realized while I may have the passion, I do not have the ear for music.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My two kids. I had no idea what being a mother would mean, but I have to say I’ve got two pretty neat little ones who have taught me more about myself and life than any other role ever has.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I would come back as my dog, Hank. He leads a pretty spoiled and amazing life.
What is your most treasured possession? Photographs. I love holding on to old photographs of family and friends. When I began to lose loved ones, I started to realize the importance of being able to look back on these treasured images.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Wet jeans.
What do you most value in your friends? Their ability to withhold judgment and love and support me no matter what.
Who are your favorite writers? Jason Reynolds, Elizabeth Acevedo, Erin Entrada Kelly, Khaled Hosseini, Aida Salazar, Jessica Kim.
Who is your hero of fiction? Jo March from Little Women. She is brave and independent, blurts out the wrong thing and loves with her whole heart. She is basically me.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? This question is HARD! A historical figure I admire and find absolutely fascinating is Frida Kahlo. Through discovering her work, I saw how truly anything is possible in art.
What is your motto? “Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.”
LORIEL RYON has long held a passion for science and books. During her childhood she was often found with her nose in a book, even at the dinner table. Now a writer of middle grade and young adult fiction, she finds that her stories are often influenced by these two interests, as well as her upbringing in a bicultural family. Loriel is a registered nurse who holds bachelor’s degrees in both nursing and biology. She currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband and her two daughters. Learn more about Loriel on her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.